A couple that I know invite me over to their house for drinks from time to time. They own two cats. I have a relatively severe allergy to cats. I can handle being in the presence of cats as long as there isn't hair everywhere. However, the last few times I've visited them, I find myself covered in the cat hair around their place despite trying to discreetly brush down my seat before I use it. As a result, my allergies flare up. I continuously have to clear my throat and various fluids are emitted from my eyes and nose. Others notice it and are presumably grossed out. It ruins my night, basically. I take antihistamines before I visit them (sometimes I start taking them days in advance to make sure they're going to work), to no avail. Next time they ask me over, I want to ask them if they can vacuum their house before I arrive so that my suffering is kept to a minimum. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
What would you say exactly? “Yeah, I’ll come have some of your wine, but do me a solid: vacuum your filthy home before I get there.”
Being allergic to cats is not rude. Informing your friends that they need to do a better job of cleaning their home if they expect you to grace it with your presence is rude. A trip to someone’s home is not a customizable experience, at least not to that extent. You might ask your friends if they wouldn’t mind keeping the cats in another room while you’re there. You can’t ask them to vacuum specifically for your visit, since there’s no way to request that without making it sound like you don’t think they keep a clean house (because that is what you’re saying).
What if, after they vacuumed, the cat hair were still a problem? Would you advise them to vacuum more thoroughly next time? Would you expand your request so that it included wiping down furniture with a damp cloth? Using a broom to get under cabinets? What are you bringing to the table besides a bad 'tude and eyeballs full of snot?
Unless you are this couple’s best friend in the world, taking them to task over their lackluster housekeeping is a surefire way to get your name crossed off future invite lists, which, in fact, would probably be the best route for all involved.
It’s time to invite your friends over to your house for drinks.
If for some reason your house is unsuitable (your home continues to observe Prohibition; you have three cats of your own and don’t want your friends to find out the cat hair allergy is just a weird lie you made up to justify your antihistamine addiction), suggest a third location. A restaurant; a park; a pet cemetery. In extending this invitation, you might be able to subtly trick your friends into cleaning their home according to your specifications.
“Is there a reason you don’t want to come out to us?”
“Oh, I love your house, guys! But [cats’ names]’ hair makes my allergies go haywire.” [Note: Make sure you use the pets' names, instead of just saying "your cats'." "Your cats'" is something a cold, cat-hating lady would say. Using the names shows we're all friends here, wheezing together.]
“Wow! Next time you come over, we’ll be sure to vacuum beforehand!”
That probably won’t happen. Probably what will happen is that they will say “OK, cool! We’d love to see your place!”
Make sure you vacuum before they come over, because it’s important to keep a tidy house.
I have two weddings coming up this fall and neither invitation specified whether I can bring a guest or not. I'm twenty-nine years old and very close to both couples, so I'm a bit surprised I wasn't afforded the option to bring a guest. I realize weddings are expensive and I am currently single, but I'm sure taking a date will be better than drinking away my loneliness (like all the married folks). I need to clarify the invitation and communicate my displeasure without being a douche. I want to tell my friends and family I want to bring a date to their weddings. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
First of all, there’s no clarification needed. Sending out wedding invitations months in advance isn’t like sending out a mass-text that everyone should go to Moriarty’s after the game. It’s not a slap-dash effort. If your wedding invitation doesn’t explicitly invite you to bring a guest, YOU ARE NOT INVITED TO BRING A GUEST.
Second, your friends and family were under no obligation to offer single you a slot for a guest in the first place, so not only should you not confront them about it — you shouldn't even feel slighted in the first place. (Some couples don't even allow their guest's longtime girlfriends and boyfriends to attend their weddings.) The purpose of someone else’s wedding is not for you to have a romantic evening. It’s not a quirky first date destination for you and some jump-off you met on OKCupid the week before. It’s a chance for two people to make a (theoretical) lifelong commitment to one another surrounded by the people they love, or, at the very least, know. Did it seem strange to you that the couples’ names were listed on the gift registries while yours was not? That’s because it’s not your day.
Do not leave a voicemail for your friends yelling "Listen up, boners! I WILL bring a girl to your wedding.” Do not send an email telling them how disappointed you are that they did not offer to subsidize an elaborate date for you and a beautiful stranger you are hoping to meet sometime between now and autumn. Do noooot just show up with a date on the day of the wedding and assume that, faced with no other choice, they will begrudgingly accomodate her (or him). Your date won’t have a chair. Your date won’t have a meal. Your date won’t have a clue who any of these people are or why they’re all acting so frosty toward you.
(I would hope you would know better than to spring an uninvited guest on the harried couple day-of but, then again, you are the guy who thinks that it’s appropriate to call up friends and demand to know why your invite has no "+1," so maybe you really have no idea how weddings work.)
And really, dude? If you can’t meet someone at a wedding, where can you meet them? It is extremely unlikely you will be the only unattached person at both (or even one of) these events. Even if by some quirk of probability you are, it’s unfathomable to think you won’t know anyone else at the ceremonies. (One of the people getting married is a family member!) Use this time to hobnob. Dougie with a bridesmaid. Chase your nieces and nephews around the lawn and establish yourself as King of the Kids. Eat your body weight in hors d'oeuvres.
If your plan sans date is to sulk at your table drinking alone all night night, RSVP to both weddings with your regrets. They don't need you weirding everyone out.
And if your outlook on love is that “married folks” spend their days slumped over wedding tables, “drinking away [their] loneliness,” maybe don’t give a toast.
Submit your "Thatz Not Okay" questions here. Image by Jim Cooke.